Name: Freddy Guzman
DOB: January 20, 1981
A 26-year-old speedster, Guzman has had an eventful journey through the minor leagues. Guzman's wild ride officially began in 2002 as a member of the Padres organization, when he was known as Pedro de los Santos. In the post-9/11 era, many teams made it a point to crack down on false birth certificates and identities. Guzman was caught, and he was discovered to be over two years older than the Padres had originally thought.
Still, the outfielder remained an outstanding prospect due to his speed and prowess with the glove. Guzman made himself known as a top prospect during the 2003 season, in which he swiped an astounding 90 bases between three levels.
The Padres began touting the Dominican-born prospect as their centerfielder of the future entering the 2004 campaign. Guzman did not disappoint, as he hit .289 with 17 doubles, six triples, two home runs, and 65 stolen bases in just 101 games between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Portland.
Guzman earned a late-season promotion to San Diego, where he hit .211 over 76 at-bats with the Padres.
Still regarded as the Padres' centerfielder of the future, the 5-foot-10 switch hitter suffered a major setback when he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm just prior to the 2005 season.
After sitting out the entire 2005 season, there were many unanswered questions about how well Guzman would be able to bounce back. The Padres opted to trade for veteran centerfielder Mike Cameron prior to the 2006 campaign, leaving Guzman's future with the Padres a cloudy one.
Guzman appeared in 30 games for Triple-A Portland before being shipped off to the Texas Rangers in exchange for outfielder Vincent Sinisi and pitcher John Hudgins.
The Rangers' second and third round picks in the 2003 draft, Sinisi and Hudgins combined to receive over $2.5 million in bonus money from the Rangers. However, both had struggled to remain healthy during their time with the organization.
Guzman was acquired in hopes that he could develop into the Rangers' centerfielder of the future should Gary Matthews Jr. test the free agent waters after the 2006 season.
The centerfielder performed well in 69 games with the Triple-A Oklahoma RedHawks, hitting .282 with nine doubles and 31 stolen bases. Guzman showed solid plate discipline, as he walked 36 times versus 36 strikeouts.
Batting and Power: The question mark of his game, the Rangers wonder whether Guzman will be able to hit enough to play everyday in the major leagues. Though Guzman has increased his patience and discipline at the plate, he has never hit over .300 in the minor leagues and has minimal gap power.
Base Running and Speed: Guzman's stolen base numbers speak for themselves. In five minor league seasons, he has stolen 271 bases in 322 attempts (84%). Guzman is an easy choice as the organization's top baserunner.
Defense: Many scouts believe that Guzman plays a Gold Glove-caliber defense in centerfield. Though his arm was never a strength, and certainly is not after Tommy John surgery, Guzman covers the gaps with outstanding range.
Projection: With Kenny Lofton only slated to play around 120 games this season, Guzman – who is currently on the 40-man roster – should get his chance to impress the Rangers in 2007. This season is an important one for Guzman, as Kenny Lofton becomes a free agent after this season and the Rangers are unsure who will patrol centerfield in 2008. Though he currently looks like a solid fourth outfielder, his exceptional speed and defensive abilities should make him a Ron Washington specialty.
|2001||Idaho Falls (RK)||.348||46||4||0||5||11||5||2||10||.388||.478|
|Fort Wayne (A)||.279||190||7||0||18||35||39||18||37||.341||.368|
|Lake Elsinore (A+)||.259||81||3||1||6||13||14||8||12||.326||.333|
|2003||Lake Elsinore (A+)||.285||281||12||2||22||64||49||40||60||.375||.370|
|San Diego (MLB)||.211||76||3||0||5||8||5||3||13||.250||.250|
|2005||DNP - Injured|